Experience Life To The Fullest – A Mindfulness Approach
Q1-01:19: Early in your clinical training it’s clear you’ve developed a passion for solving complex mental illnesses and addictions through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy. You’ve also developed a mindfulness-based approach which focuses on a full-life experience. Why don’t you give our listeners a view into these different approaches and how you came to develop them?
Q2-09:06: That brings me to the next question. So this year and especially in the last few months, a lot of people are experiencing pretty strong emotions of FEAR, as you’ve mentioned, where there is some doubt and worry regarding their circumstances in this, let’s call it the new political environment. In your experience, what do you find is the catalyst for these emotions to develop into a serious disorder, and there are recognizable stages which you would take different approaches to the treatment of that individual?
Q3-12:50: Alright. Well, that sort of dives right next into your mindfulness-based approach and tackle what I’m sure many of our listeners have been experiencing internally, or from others, which is, let’s call it the emotion of HATE. Walk us through your approach to dealing with this emotion and what may turn out to be hostility toward others, and I think we’re seeing some evidence of that today.
Q4-19:11: Well it’s certainly that it’s manifesting itself from individuals into real hostility to other people. They find themselves having emotions that are out of the ordinary or out of the norm for that individual when something becomes a very significant change in their normal behavior which ends up pushing them to do things they wouldn’t necessarily do in other situations. What did you find is that trigger for this?
Q5-22:28: Wow, that’s incredible. Well, let’s move on to something else that you’ve spent a lot of time on. So, for many individuals, their actions are the result of a strong emotion of DESIRE. You’ve got a significant amount of experience treating an obsessive-compulsive disorder and addictions. Give our listeners your thought on the metamorphosis of normal DESIRE into a disorder or an addiction, and what your treatment approaches are.
Q7-34:33: So Seth, tell us a couple of your most memorable patient success stories. I think our listeners would love to hear that.
Q8-41:33: Those are amazing stories, thank you for sharing them. We do have a question from one of our listeners. Beth who is 24 years old, from the Boston area, she’s a student at UMass. Her question is: “There are days when the pressure of school, keeping my job and trying to maintain my relationship causes me to feel a deep HOPELESSNESS in my ability to make it all work. I often truly dread the Sun coming up. How do I get out of this emotional state so that it does not become something worse”
Q9-45:56: Let me ask you something as we begin to wrap up our conversation a little bit. For those who want to see or hear more from you, are there any upcoming speaking engagements or articles you’re going to publish that you would like our listeners to be aware of?
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Seth Gillihan started his clinical training in The George Washington University’s community counseling program where he learned the fundamentals of human development, the therapeutic relationship, and how people make positive changes. While at GW he had the opportunity to work with individuals in a partial hospitalization program who were dealing with major mental illnesses and addiction, as well as with adolescents, college students, and adults in GW’s outpatient clinic.
After the first year in his master’s program he knew he wanted more specialized training in cognitive-behavioral therapy, which he had learned was the best-tested treatment for the conditions he wanted to treat. Seth also got excited about understanding the role of the brain in depression and anxiety. He decided to continue his education in the doctoral program in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, which is strong both in brain research and in evidence-based psychological treatments.
After he finished his clinical training and defended his dissertation at Penn, Seth completed his internship at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey. At Ancora, he returned to similar work as he had done while at GW, completing assessments and developing treatment plans for individuals with serious mental illness and drug addiction, this time on inpatient units. He also trained in the secure unit of the hospital which housed patients who were involved in various ways with the legal system. During his internship, he worked with Dr. Judith Coché in Center City Philadelphia for his outpatient placement, where he got additional supervised experience working with individuals and groups.
Seth considered going into full-time practice after his internship, but decided he wanted to pursue an academic track instead. He felt grateful for the evidence-based treatments he had learned about and was using, and wanted to contribute to their further development. He secured an Assistant Professor position at Dr. Edna Foa’s Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety (CTSA) in the Psychiatry Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Foa is a pioneer in the field of OCD and PTSD treatment, and he learned an extraordinary amount in his time at the center.
While he was there he did research on post traumatic stress disorder and smoking cessation, provided treatment for OCD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression, and supervised psychology trainees and psychiatry residents in the delivery of CBT for these conditions. He also was trained in mindfulness-based therapy for anxiety, especially for generalized anxiety disorder.
After he left his full-time position at Penn he pursued advanced training in CBT for insomnia (CBT-I) since so many of the people he was treating had sleep problems. Since summer 2012 he has been in independent private practice, delivering treatment in Haverford, PA, and by video conference.
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